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Being the Right Kind of Person

July 7, 2024 by  
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I’ve been looking back at some past posts, and one mentioned a book that has been super helpful since I first read it in 2005. The book is Goals! How to Get Everything You Want Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible. I’ve always felt it a privilege to call its author, Brian Tracy, a friend. He’s not only a warm, friendly person, but he’s also smart and wise. His advice in Goals! is fantastic. I have reaped huge rewards from following his wonderful and sage advice.

When I read, I often make notes on the ideas and quotes that I find particularly wise. In the front blank pages of Brian’s books, I scribbled page number references so I could go back to my favorite parts and lines such as, ‘Character is the ability to follow through on a resolution after the enthusiasm with which the resolution was made has passed.” That’s on page 263.

But what Brian wrote about the concept that gives a person a huge advantage to be successful that really influenced me was written under the subhead, “Get Around the Right People”. In that chapter, Brian says that you should, “make it a point to associate with the kind of people that you like, admire, respect, and want to be like sometime in the future. Associate with the kind of people that you look up to and would be proud to introduce to your friends and associates. The choice of a positive, goal-oriented reference group can do more to supercharge your career than any other factor.”

When I set my goal to be a millionaire, one of the first things I did was to set in motion a plan to meet and get to know wealthy people. On that list were two billionaires who didn’t know me from Adam but who, with persistence and a plan, I was able to meet and get to know as well as get advice and financial formulas from. The two billionaires were Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald’s, and Curt Carlson, founder of the TGIF restaurant chain.

However, my very first adviser, who also became a good friend, was a multimillionaire by the name of Larry Rosenberg. He not only referred me to the best books to read to lead a person to huge wealth, he also spent lots of time with me over lunches. He gave me great advice, hints, and direction concerning where to look for the best properties and what to do to fix them up to greatly increase value and then sell them. Later I was fortunate enough to connect with businessman Paul J. Meyer, who built a half-billion-dollar fortune starting from nothing. He shared many ideas and formulas for achieving success at a quick pace with me.

Besides the notes I made in the front of Brian’s book, I also found this note that his words inspired me to write in one of the margins: “In order for me to be able to associate with the right kind of people, I must work hard on myself to be that likable and right kind of person.” It’s a thought that has stayed with me ever since I wrote it.

When I think about it, I know that for me, and most people, we would all much rather do business with people who we really like, and we tend to shun people that are difficult or unfriendly towards us. I don’t even enjoy playing tennis with people I don’t like, even if I beat them. So, the bottom line here is that in order to meet the right kind of people you must work on yourself to become that right kind of person as well. Once you have, then you can surround yourself with the kind of people that will help you become the kind of successful person you want to be.

Faith in the Brain’s Healing Powers

June 23, 2024 by  
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We all have good days and bad days with our health, and it can be frustrating when our bodies are not performing the way we want them to or need them to. But our health is not out of our power to control. As a matter of fact, we all do have a super powerful tool right in our own heads. It’s our amazing brain.

Researchers that study the brain-body connection have shown in numerous experiments how the brain can be tricked into believing it is getting better. A simple sugar pill can relieve pain or even cure an illness if the person believes that the pill being taken is genuine medicine.

That’s how powerful our brains are. They can make physical changes in our bodies beyond what we would normally give them credit for. There is a book I reread regularly called Super Brain. The authors, Deepak Chopra and Rudolph E. Tanzi, point out that any of us can, if we so chose, set up or create our own placebo effect at any time without any kind of pill.

What’s supper interesting, as Chopra and Tanzi explain, is that “the effect isn’t limited to drugs, which is important to remember: anything you believe in can act as a placebo.”

They also ask where the relief comes from when the placebos are not actually doing anything themselves. They explain that it is simply, “the mind telling the body to get well.” The body really believes what it was being told and then it relieves the pain or heals the sickness because it believes it can. In other words, your mind can and does control healing of all kinds including pain, disease, and wounds that our bodies deal with from time to time.

These authors go on to say “Being your own placebo is the same as freeing up the healing system through messages from the brain. All healing is, in the end, self-healing. Physicians aid the body’s intricate healing system (which coordinates immune cells, inflammation, hormones, genes and much else), but the actual healing takes place in an unknown way.”

One of the conclusions that the authors come up with in regards to conquering and taking advantage of the mind-body connection is that, “In serious illness, doubts and fears play a marked role, which is why a practice like meditation or going to group counseling has been shown to help.”

That is certainly worth trying for most, if not all of us, whenever we want to cure our pain, problems, or disease. These kinds of things are probably very helpful to do on a regular basis even.

The authors suggest that there is a method through which anyone can apply their own placebo effect. It requires the same conditions as in a classic placebo response:
1. You trust what is happening.
2. You deal with doubt and fear.
3. You don’t send conflicting messages that get tangled with each other.
4. You have opened the channels of mind-body communications.
5. You let go of your intention and allow the healing system to do its work.

Our bodies have an amazing ability to heal themselves. When we get a cut finger or knee we slap on a band-aid and know that it will heal without further help from us. In doing that, we’ve just let our brain send a positive message to our cells to do their job. But when we get a serious disease we let our minds jump into the mix with all kinds of worry and negative thoughts doing pretty much the opposite of the list above. If we can have faith and believe in the body’s ability to heal itself then the brain will send the right messages to bring on and support that healing.

The bottom line here is if we are going to benefit from our own built-in ‘placebo effect’ we’ve got to, at a minimum, follow the list of 5 conditions above. If you can do that, you are supporting your body’s ability to take care of you, as it is supposed to do. I’m not saying modern medicine is not super helpful and needed, but it’s certain to get a big boost from your brain if you strongly believe in the ability of the medicine and your body to do their jobs and heal you.

Live Large, Take Risks

June 16, 2024 by  
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Back in 2015, Mitt Romney, former GOP candidate for President made some memorable and powerful comments to the graduating class at Utah Valley University. He advised the students “to experience a fulfilling, purposeful life.” But then he took it a step further and went on to say, “One thing you’re going to have to do is live a ‘Large Life.’” 

What great advice. That is something all of us need to think about and pay attention to. We need to go out and live large and do it our entire lives. So many times, we hesitate to “Live Large” in meaningful and fulfilling ways. Why? Because most of the time we fear that we will fail.

“Failures don’t have to define who you are,” Romney said in that same speech. “Through all my occupations, I have experienced successes and failures. I am asked what it felt like to lose to President Obama. Well, not as good as winning. Failures aren’t fun, but they are inevitable.”

How about you? Have you racked up a lot of failures or just a few? Do you think the frequency of your failures compared to your successes has motivated to try harder and go bigger or has it held you back?  

It seems to me, from my experience, that the number of failures I’ve had is in direct proportion to how large I’ve tried to live.  So, yes, I’ve had a ton of failures but I’ve also had some really huge successes. And I think I had those big successes because of all that I learned from my failures.

I remember one huge loss that I learned a valuable lesson from which led me to some of those very, very large successes. I had decided to lend a large amount of money with a restaurant as collateral. This turned out to be a huge mistake on my part! Why? Because I don’t know much about that kind of business so if it failed, I had little knowledge or skills to save it or run it. And guess what? It did fail and I lost almost all of what I had loaned.

What did I learn? Well, first of all, I found out that restaurants have a very high rate of failure, and, second, I learned that I shouldn’t stray from what I know best.  Not that I shouldn’t ever loan money but if I do, I should loan it on assets that I understand as well as sticking to improved real estate which, ideally, would also be income producing.

I forged ahead and made many millions of dollars worth of loans that were backed by real estate and I was very successful there.  Later, I discovered that I could do even better by owning the right kind of income producing properties. I also, very successfully, ventured into the development of condos and warehouses, where the profits were even bigger although they did come with increased risks. The thing was, those were risks I was willing to take because I knew the business. 

Had the restaurant been successful, I might have gone on to make bigger mistakes in that and other businesses that I knew nothing about.  So, yes, I would say that much, if not most, of my success with real estate backed loans came from lessons learned from that one particular failure and, confident that I’d learned a valuable lesson, I went on to “Live Large”.

So, don’t be afraid to take those risks and make mistakes but just be sure you are paying attention to the really valuable lessons you’ll find in living large.

Teaching Your Way to a Better Life

June 2, 2024 by  
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I am often struck by the thought that there is this huge life enhancing potential available to everyone on the planet that maybe we don’t always take great advantage of. It’s our ability to teach other people and, through it, help ourselves and others by sharing the things we have learned by educating ourselves and through our successes and even our failures.

Doing this has been changing and helping my life for years now. I have been teaching and preaching from the time it occurred to me that I had some really great stuff to share. But, strangely, it took me a long time to really identify what it was that I was doing, at least enough to put it into words.

So, I’d like to share with you my thoughts on why teaching and sharing your knowledge can be so important to you as well as to the people around you. Please, think deeply and intently about this and then put it into practice in any way you can. See if it doesn’t profoundly enhance so many parts of your life, even in the areas you’re already super successful in.

Here is what makes teaching so great for the person doing the teaching. Any goal, habit, human quality, or desire that you start preaching, teaching, or pontificating about will automatically, and almost without effort, push you to do more of it yourself. The knowledge you share, whether spoken or written, is like a truth drug for the mind, pushing you to do what you are encouraging and teaching others to do.  I am totally convinced this will, and does, work that way for everyone.

If you have been reading my past blogs you might remember me setting some pretty tough and maybe even overly ambitious goals through the years. Some I reached, and some I didn’t quite manage, but I know I wouldn’t have done as well as I did if I had not been constantly sharing my thoughts and ideas with you, my readers. After talking about any particular subject or goal setting item, I usually find my mind fixating on the advice I gave to you and pushing myself to do more and do better in that area. I can now see that it’s been my inner brain keeping me on track as I dig up and share these ideas with you.

I guess you could say that my brain pushed me to remain “true to myself” and to my readers as well. You see, if you teach and preach to others what they could and should do for self-improvement, or just about any subject, your inner self gives you the message that you must live up to what you put out there. We all know the saying, “practice what you preach”, and our inner brain and soul does not want us to be a hypocrite, therefore our subconscious pushes us to be true to our words. I am pretty darn convinced that is the best way to become better at whatever subject, goal, or life enhancing idea we want to improve upon. We just need to talk and teach others about it.

What knowledge do you have, or have you learned, that you want to be reminded and pushed to improve in your life? If you want to do better at it, there will be plenty of others that will want to do better at it too. So, why not teach and share what you know and help yourself do better and better at these things?

I challenge you to start teaching and preaching now about something that you want to improve in your own life. Be sure to write down your goals and objectives as well so you can stay on track. And then, in a few months, take a look back and see what it has done for you as well as for other people’s lives. Once you see how well it works and how it is a win-win for everyone, you just might be hooked on teaching and preaching your way to a better life.

Acceptance in the Here and Now

May 5, 2024 by  
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I noticed that I and a number of other people are having a hard time with life events recently. We will all have difficult times to deal with but how events affect us now and impact us in the long run depends on how we deal with them. If you’ve followed this blog for a while then you’ve probably read my thoughts on living in the now and how it affects your health, stress level, and just enjoyment of life. Well, the same kind of thing is key for dealing with hard times.

When we find ourselves in an emotional or difficult moment–whether it’s a bad injury, a deadline you’ve missed at work, or the loss of a loved one, one of the first things that comes to mind is wanting or wishing you could change the circumstances you find yourself in. There’s no point in doing this but we all do it just the same. If you hold onto those thoughts, you’ll just be torturing yourself which does you and those around you no good at all and can be harmful in the long run.

It’s true that some situations can actually be changed for the better, but, unfortunately, there are a lot of things you can’t change and some things we shouldn’t try to change. Sometimes trying to change the difficult thing we’re dealing with is just going to waste a lot of energy on a losing battle. Sometimes it can make something even worse.

So, the first thing you need to do with any situation is to accept what has already happened. The past cannot be changed. If you missed that deadline, well, you can’t go back and get the work done on time any longer, but you can move forward and get the job done as soon as possible or, if it’s just too late, put it aside and pick up the next most important task. If someone has passed away, celebrate who they were and how they have enriched your life while realizing and accepting that everyone will pass on and that it’s just part of this wonderful miracle of life we have been lucky enough to experience.

Accepting and living in the moment won’t make the stress or pain of what has happened go away completely and that’s okay too. Disappointment, pain, and sorrow are normal when things get rough. It’s an emotional reaction that we don’t choose. But we can choose how long we are going to dwell on it. Those emotions are a reaction to the circumstance, but the initial reaction is momentary.

So, go ahead and feel your emotions and accept them as normal and natural but let go of any attempts to control what has already happened. This will make it so much easier to accept difficult circumstances. When you do, it will reduce the emotional and physical pain and problems you’ll have while dealing with the situation.

That’s what it means to live in the now and accept and appreciate the moments we have, the good and the bad. It’s just not worth spending your precious time wishing things had been different. And it’s not worth your precious energy to try changing the present in an attempt to rewrite the past, no matter how bad an effect it has had on you and your loved ones.

So even though you can’t change the past, you can change the here and now and you can change what happens next. The only thing that can do this and can change how a difficult situation will affect you, is in how you deal with it in the moment you have, that moment of the here and now.

A Very Special Message

April 21, 2024 by  
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We are sorry to report that Mark had a big fall earlier this month and hurt his head which has left his thinking a bit foggy. Because of this, Mark requested of his team that we rework and offer old posts for you while he focuses on mending. However, Mark just celebrated a very special day in his life and his family decided they wanted this post to be special as well.  So here are some very heartfelt thoughts about an exceptional man you know as Mark O. Haroldsen from his son Marcus.

Mark (MOH) and his kids: Front going clockwise around MOH – Cammy, Mark Ed, George, Marcus, Dave, and Nicky.

We all celebrate things in our life, whether it’s a baby being born, a wedding, a birthday, a new job, a big move, or a special relationship. It’s part of what we do, as a species, to recognize and generate joy in our lives.

Earlier this month we had just such an occasion for none other than Mark O. Haroldsen, celebrating his life as he turned 80! That’s a lot of revolutions around the sun, probably too much birthday cake, and a whole lot of life to be grateful for! Since Mark is celebrating his 80th birthday this month, I thought it might be a nice little change to jump in here and share a few things with you from the perspective of one of Mark’s family members.

In these past 80 years, Mark has seen more than his share of world issues, changing economic conditions, family and health issues, love, and loss. He has been a part of many organizations, been on TV multiple times, written a number of bestselling books, and dedicated time every week for nearly 15 years to writing this blog. With all that he has seen and done though, his love of people is what shines brightest. In the recent days and weeks, we’ve heard so many stories from so many people illustrating the connection, friendship, genuine love, and kindness he has shown others.

We all strive in some way or another to create joy in our life, yet often those things that we seek aren’t where we find the greatest joy and love. Human connection is part of our nature, but we all do it differently, and that’s okay! Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert like Mark, we each have our own unique way of expressing ourselves and connecting.

Years ago, I saw this firsthand with my dad. I had gone to the airport to pick him up, and as soon as I saw him, he began to introduce me to some people he was with. His friendly tone and jovial demeanor with these unfamiliar people, made me confidently conclude that these were long lost friends. He traveled frequently in those days and knew so many people at the airport. Whether they were baggage handlers or some form of concierge, Mark got to know a wide variety of people the various airports he frequented.

Wanting to confirm my assumption, I interrupted the introductions to find out how these unfamiliar people knew my dad. Their answer was something along the lines of, “Oh, he just started talking to us on the plane. He is so nice. He gave us this book and he gave each of my kids a $2 bill.” The smiles on their faces showed the joy they had on the flight because of Mark’s kindness and his uncanny ability to talk to anyone, anywhere.

Mark has given us many examples of how to befriend and accept others. From a young man that he played tennis with in Germany who became a lifelong friend to the family, to the exchange student who enjoyed a summer with us and likewise has remained a close family friend, Mark’s ability to make people feel welcome and accepted is inspiring. While some impromptu invites he offer while on vacation led to just casual and entertaining meals, others resulted in all present becoming so close that you’d think they were blood relatives.

There is so much joy to be shared in making these connections. So, as Mark celebrates his 80th birthday this week, as well as working to get back to full strength and health, I hope we can each spread MOH love and think of his examples in befriending others and letting people know that we care. Cheers to each of you and thank you for allowing me to interrupt the usual weekly blog. Mark will be back soon to continue to share his thoughts and build his connection with you.

The Wisdom of Your Past Self

April 7, 2024 by  
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Anyone that has followed my blog over the years knows that I think very highly of the power of words, especially the words that you and I write down. I encourage everyone to “journal their journey” through this life. Your own words can be so powerful in helping you through it.

Usually at the end of a year or the beginning of a new year, I go back and revisit myself when I was 30, 40, 50 or 60 years old. In fact, I can even visit myself when I was 18 and 19 years old since that’s when I started my journal. Believe me, some of my thoughts back then were downright funny and crazy. But, more often, I am amazed at the things I wrote. Oh yes, there were many dreams and goals that I set for myself that didn’t turn out the way I hoped. But I did succeed with many and made progress on others so even though I was a failure here and there, I can see that overall, I did very well for myself.

But the big stuff that often jumps out at me as I read these old journals are the words that push myself to do better and, more importantly, to enjoy my life right now. Not only are there lessons to be learned in those pages, those words from my past self still continue to be very motivating years later.

I have such a wonderful time reviewing my past experiences including recalling my trips, the people I’ve met, the way my various goals changed and re-focused over the years and, most importantly, my inner thoughts along the way. Think about it–what a great thing it is to be able to relive and bask in all that was great in the weeks, months, and years of your past and also have the opportunity to learn some valuable lessons from both the good and the bad stuff that happened.

Many times, when I go back and read my inner thoughts and ideas, I say to myself, “Wow, I wrote that?”, or “Wow, where did that come from?” It’s like it came from some other person’s brain.

It’s very interesting to me that our own words and our past selves can give us motivation and inspiration. Here is a sample of some of the words I’ve come across in re-reading my journals. These were from January 29, 1998, in an entry entitled simply “Thoughts”. I should have titled it “Random Thoughts” though as they aren’t very connected, but they are still really interesting and important things to remember.

  • We involve ourselves in so many activities –games, sports, work, relationships, eating, drinking etc.–to distract ourselves from ourselves. Is making it in the world the most important thing about our being?
  • Climbing and coming back down from Mt. Everest is a perfect metaphor for life. When you get to the top you are only halfway.
  • Love is what we were born with, fear is what we learn. Love is our ultimate reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life.
  • Meaning doesn’t lie in things because things don’t love us back; meaning lies in us.
  • We overvalue what we perceive with our physical senses and undervalue what we know to be true in our hearts.

And the last, but not least, of these random thoughts:

  • Time only exists in the moment of right now. Time is an infinite series of “nows” strung together. The way we spend each “now” creates our destiny. When you are focused, time is your partner.

I do sincerely wish and hope that these few random thoughts might enhance your life and those people, friends, family and loved ones around you. And once again I strongly encourage you to write notes to yourself in a journal, on a notepad, or on a computer or even your phone. Later on, as you re-read your own words, you will be so very glad you did, and you may even be inspired by those words, ideas, and inner thoughts that you put down.

So, start writing in your own journal and you can look forward to experiencing similar thoughts and feelings when you read them in the coming years.

An Unusual Lesson from Monks

March 17, 2024 by  
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As you know, I love to travel. There are so many awe-inspiring, extraordinarily beautiful, and even startling sights all over this big world of ours. But I have to say, I am inspired by the people maybe more than the places I see. The way that other people live and the way they think can be so different in some ways and so alike in others that I often find myself comparing what I do and what I think with the ways and thoughts of the people I meet.

Some years back, I saw what I thought of as one of the oddest things. It was something I never thought I’d see, and it really struck me because it was incongruous to the ideas I had previously. I saw these Buddhist monks walking around their temple areas, looking down as they went, at something we are all very familiar with yet would not expect to see at a Buddhist temple–cell phones! Yes, these monks—anywhere from 8 years old to 80 or 90 years old—were walking and texting or talking on that very, modern invention.

It didn’t seem to fit at all, and it took a while to get used to seeing the simple Buddhist ways combined with modern technology. I thought that Buddhists traditionally renounced conventional living. But it occurred to me after a while, that they also attach great importance to community and isn’t keeping in touch part of that? And so, if cell phones help them build and strengthen community, then maybe that technology is a good and necessary thing.

And then there’s the Buddhist philosophy that change is inevitable. Here is a quote from Lao Tzu that really explains this: Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.

We all know that technology is all about change. I remember thinking about that a lot after that one particular trip to Asia when I noticed the monks on their cell phones. I still think about it sometimes, especially about how it must have taken the monks some work to get used to the idea of using cell phones.

Embracing change is really a very important idea, one that we should all make a part of our lives. Whether it’s a simple thing like not getting upset at standing in line, being in a huge traffic jam, dealing with the heart-breaking circumstance of illness or death of a loved one, or struggling with pain and health issues ourselves, we need to focus on accepting that these things happen. Sure, if there’s something in our lives we don’t like, we can certainly work towards making things more to our liking, but some change is inevitable and other changes are just things we can’t do anything about. When we have those kinds of changes in our lives, we need to work on making peace with them. Fighting changes by getting angry or depressed, or by acting in a destructive or non-constructive way will not make things better and often leads to more unhappiness.

I know it’s easy to say that we should accept change and let it go or embrace it, but it is so much harder to act on that idea than just saying the words. Now, I’m not saying that you should give up easily when you want things to be different, like when change makes things difficult or frustrating for you. We should all do what we can to make our lives, and our family’s and friends’ lives, better. But when it comes to the point where we realize nothing can be done, or to fight it will make things worse, we would be much better off letting it go and working with the change and not against it.

I think that’s what the monks did. All the ways we communicate with each other has pretty much moved into all this mobile technology and, I guess, the monks realized that if they were going to stay connected and build a community, they needed to accept the changes in the world and not fight against them.

I think there are things in all of our lives that we fight against without success or any real progress that we can accept without a major loss of quality in our lives. I guess the hard part is figuring out which things to keep fighting for and which things to accept as well as when to give in and accept them.

So, if there’s something you have been fighting against for a long time and nothing’s really getting better, maybe only getting more frustrating for you, it’s possible that it’s time to accept it and replace your frustration with calm acceptance and, yes, even happiness. Because once we stop stressing out over the things we can’t change, we have more room to be happy. So, let’s all try to make more room for happiness.

Changes to this Blog and to Our Lives

March 3, 2024 by  
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We all know that life has its big bumps, surprises, and setbacks. And, yes, it also has many wonderful, fun, exciting, and pleasurable moments. It behooves all of us to constantly remember to live in the great “right now” and appreciate the good times. But, when we have setbacks, we also have to stop and look back at how they happened and figure out what we can do to make things better in the future. It can be hard to both live in the moment and fix and plan for those bumps in the road.

I’ve written a lot about living in the great “right now” previously and most people know they should not spend too much time worrying about the future or beating themselves up for past mistakes or bad decisions. That can be hard to do though. If you are like me, you have to keep reminding yourself to think more about the moment we are in. That kind of thinking can be very critical for our mental and emotional health and our great enjoyment of life. Meditation can help with this. Meditation works because, if you do it right, you truly are living in the moment while doing it!

Knowing all this and preaching it to others, I still wake up worrying about what I need to get done in the immediate or not too distant future as well as fretting a bit over what I missed out on doing yesterday. I have noticed, however, if I take time to write down my next day’s plans and actions the night before I go to sleep, I usually wake up much more likely to just get out of bed and get going on my to do list. My mind seems to be so much clearer and my thoughts are much more positive in the “now moment” when I do this. 

Of course, we all need to think about the future and make plans, much of which is very fun and exciting like when planning a trip to Disneyland with the kids or a vacation to Europe. It’s the same with the past. We enjoy taking time (but not too much time) to relive our great experiences and the really memorable moments in our lives.

And then, of course, there is planning for the not so fun things. Sometimes there are things going on in our lives that make us realize we need to change things up. Recently I’ve been struggling with some health issues that made me stop and think that there might be some areas that I need to slow down in. This means that I have to look back at what I’ve been doing that I can maybe do less of and then think about how I want my future to look. It’s really been taking me out of the “right now” frame of mind. But I have been able to make some decisions and, I think, once I make a few changes, I can focus on my health when I need to and get back to living in the moment more and more.

One of the things I decided to do is to write posts for this blog just twice a month instead of every week. I aim to get them out on the 1st and 3rd Sunday each month. So, you can be sure to check in with me on those weekends.

It will be quite the change, after posting on this blog every week for nearly 15 years, to only write these twice a month, but it’s a good thing to recognize when change is needed. We all need to be really good about recognizing our priorities in life and be open to making the changes that will help keep us healthy and happy.

So, although going to just twice a month for this blog will feel like a big change for me, and maybe for some of you, thinking like this gives us a chance to really look around and figure out what other changes could really help lift our lives.

I’ve talked a lot about how important good health is to our lives as well as spending time with family and friends and all those other good things that keep us healthy and happy. So, maybe we can all take some time now to look around and see if there are changes we can make to be sure that time with our loved ones and our own health and happiness is a priority in our life.

Questioning Social Media

February 18, 2024 by  
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In today’s world, so dominated by social media, we may find ourselves under the impression that a lot of other people out there have near perfect lives.  I mean look at virtually anyone’s Facebook or Instagram and you’ll see all these fun pictures, pretty faces, amazing talent, and supportive comments. Much of what we see is the good stuff, and of course, there is nothing wrong with that, but it sure can make a lot of people feel and believe that their own lives, filled with challenges, big ups and downs, and stress inducing problems are really messed up, which can result in self-pity, depression and, in the worst cases, even suicide.

The fact is, nobody’s life is perfect or even close, but when you’re looking from the outside you might be tricked into thinking that other people are doing tons better than you because of the limited view you get. If you take time to look and probe on a deeper level, you will see that the surface view can be very misleading since people don’t tend to post about their failures and problems, preferring to show just their successes and fun times. But very often these positive posts hide troubled lives and minds.

So, if you really want to know the truth and gain insight into a person’s actual and complete life, so you have a realistic view and can be ready and open to help them, you need to dig deeper.  One easy way to do this is by simply asking the right questions.  For example, pick a friend or relative that seems to be doing well according to their social media postings and ask questions like these:

1.  What are the biggest challenges you are having in life right now?

2.  Do you ever get down or depressed? (If they say yes, ask how often and what causes it.)

3.  What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you?

4.  Do you think much about your own mortality?

5.  What in your life scares you the most?

6.  Have you experienced any great tragedy in your life? If so, what happened?

7.  Do you worry and think about tragedy striking you in the future?

If you take a little time, you certainly can add your own probing questions to this list.

I’m pretty sure if you question those who you think have “the perfect life” you will find, as I have, that no matter how rich and famous or easy their lives look from the outside, they too have their problems and challenges and many times much larger problems that you would have ever guessed.

Asking questions can help you see and understand, not just these other people, but also yourself. It can get rid of those feelings of self-pity or not being good enough. It can even lift you out of a state of depression, not just because you’ll see that your life is no worse, and sometimes better than other peoples’, but because looking outside yourself and looking for ways to help others can really lift your spirits and your life.

But I think, most importantly, knowing the challenges and problems that your relatives and friends are dealing with puts you in the perfect position to step up and help them overcome some of their problems, challenges, and obstacles.  This makes it a real win-win for you both. And all it took was asking a few questions!

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